Second Division A - Day 26

First placed Cádiz were held to a 0-0 draw by Sporting Gijón in one of only two games which took place on Saturday evening. Both sides had several chances in a lively game, the keepers in action early on when Roberto kept out a shot from Manolo Pérez and Armando did likewise from Samuel. The locals were on top for the rest of the first half, Jonathan Sesma shooting over the bar and Roberto saving a dangerous Manolo Pérez free kick. But honours were shared after the restart, with Pérez and Abraham Paz putting efforts just wide for the locals and Armando stopping efforts from Juan and Calandria. It was a second draw in a row for the Andalusians, who could find themselves off the top spot after Sunday's games.

Gimnastic Tarragona moved up to ninth, just six points off the promotion spots, after beating Málaga B 0-1. With both sides looking to defend there were very few chances throughout the match. Only Geijo and Codina troubled either keeper in the first half, and there were even less opportunities after the break. The home side were left with ten men though when Jesús Gámez was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half, and with the game coming to an end Sergio Francisco latched on to a loose ball to win it for the visitors. (26.02.05)

Xerez are back in the promotion race after beating third placed Elche 1-2 on Sunday lunchtime. The Andalusians had dropped down the table since their early success, but the victory takes them to within three points of their opponents, who could be out of the top three by the end of the weekend. It was the locals who took the lead though with a Moisés penalty after Tete had fouled Nino on the stroke of half time, but Unanua had to turn an effort from Moreno round the post five minutes after the restart and Lekic levelled the scores from the resulting corner. The Croatian striker had what would have been a second goal ruled out for a hand ball later on, but Camuñas got the winner with a shot on the turn following another corner a couple of minutes later. Elche pushed hard for the equaliser, but the defence cleared from Valdemarín and Tete kept out Alfredo in the dying minutes to hold on to the three points.

Celta moved to the top of the table after beating Real Murcia 1-0 on Sunday evening, their fifth win in a row since the turn of the season. They struggled though to get going against a side who were under new management after Casuco took over from Husillos midweek, and Pinto had to be at his best to save from David Karanka early in the first half. Celta's only reply before the break was a weak shot from Jonathan, and the visitors could have increased their lead with a bit more luck. However a quarter of an hour in to the second half the Galicians got the goal they needed, Contreras and Gustavo López combining for Canobbio to beat Olave. And after that Murcia's challenge ended, Canobbio coming close to adding a second as Fernando Vázquez's side took control.

Once again though the second division is a closely fought affair. Although Celta and Cádiz have opened up a three point gap over the rest, only three points separate six teams fighting for the last promotion spot. Elche held on to third spot for the moment though despite their defeat as their closest rivals Eibar didn't play, their game at Córdoba called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Valladolid failed to take advantage when they were pegged back to 2-2 by Terrassa after taking a two goal lead. There were few opportunities in a dull first half, visiting keeper Morales dealing well with a couple of long shots by Víctor. But half time substitute Alvaro brought the game to life with two goals in five minutes, the first from the edge of the area after taking a pass from Aduriz, and the second with a long shot after an effort from Mario was blocked. Maikel headed one back though on the hour mark, and Quique Martín fired home a spectacular free kick from some thirty yards out te minutes from the end to save a point for the Catalans.

Recreativo are back in the promotion race after a controversial 0-1 win at Racing Ferrol, where referee Martínez Franco had to be given a police escort off the pitch at the end. Vosalho missed a chance to put the home side ahead early on, but the French defender was sent off ten minutes before the break for a foul on Azkorra in the area. Viqueira fired his penalty kick against the post though and Uche blocked his follow up to keep the scores level at the break. The ten men could have taken the lead when Bayarri shot just wide after the restart, and a few minutes later Martínez awarded them a penalty for a foul on substitute Flavio Barros but then changed his mind. Xavi Jiménez scored for the visitors with a quarter of an hour to go, and the referee left the Galicians with eight men after sending off substitute Carlos for a tackle on an opponent from behind just minutes after coming on, and then showing a second yellow card to Cobas in the last minute.

Recreativo move up to fifth, just two points behind Elche and one above Alavés, who suffered their fifth defeat in a row after losing 2-0 at Ciudad Murcia. The Vitoria based side couldn't get started, and were lucky not to find themselves behind when Luciano had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half. Bonano kept out Cuevas after the restart before the locals were awarded a penalty for a foul by Téllez on Güiza. Bonano kept out Güiza's spot kick, but could not prevent him from slotting home the rebound for the first goal. Godino and debutant Joao Paulo could have increased the lead before a last minute mix up between Nacho and Bonano left Joao Paulo with the easiest of tasks of running the ball over the line for his first goal for his new side.

Down in the lower reaches, Salamanca moved away from the drop zone after beating Almería 3-2. The groundstaff had to clear snow off the pitch before kick off, and the icy conditions caused Zé Tó to slip when free in front of goal early on. However the Portuguese midfielder set up Brit to open the scoring for the locals with just over a quarter of an hour gone, and although Sahnoun equalised on the half hour mark from a free kick, Aurelio restored the lead a minute later with a shot from inside his own half. Brit made it three with a well struck free kick shorlty before half time, but local keeper Tom had to be at his best after the restart before Galca reduced the gap to one goal with a long shot near the end.

Almería's neighbours Poli Ejido also climbed away from the danger area with a much needed 2-0 win over Lleida. The visitors could have taken the lead when Crusat headed over the bar, but Vucko set up Toedtli with a quarter of an hour on the clock for him to turn the ball past Rangel for the opening goal, and Vucko ran on to a long ball from Víctor Salas to make it two shortly before the break. Both sides had chances after that, the Catalans hitting the post after the restart, but there were no further scores.

Pontevedra held off Tenerife to pick up a point in a 0-0 draw in the Heliodoro Rodríguez stadium, taking them off the bottom of the table above Córdoba. The Galicians put out a defensive line up, allowing the Canary Islanders to dominate the first half. Moso had to keep out Keko a couple of times before the break, and the Catalan striker hit the bar soon after the restart. But after losing Corona to a serious head injury, the locals were left with ten men on the hour mark when Belli picked up a second booking. Javi Rodríguez and Changui both had chances for the visitors after that. But they too were left a man short when Cabrera was shown a second yellow card, and the game petered out to a draw. (27.02.05)

Eibar held on for a 0-0 draw in their match at Córdoba which had been postponed from two weeks ago because of a waterlogged pitch, and the Basque side move up level with second placed Cádiz as a result. The locals dominated the game, with Villa shooting over the top and Montenegro almost catching out Iraizoz early on. Bilic failed to take advantage of a couple of chances, shooting wide when free in front of goal either side of half time, and it appeared to be a matter of time when Garitano was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half. But Mendilibar (recently linked with Athletic Bilbao) put on extra defenders and the Andalusians were unable to find a way through. They ended the day in next to bottom spot, still some eight points away from safety. (09.03.05)